favorite things 2015

We’re gearing up for one of my favorite weekends in Cape May – the annual West Cape May Christmas Parade!  This Saturday evening, the legendary parade will march right past The West End Garage.  We are still working on final touches on our store window but so far I am feeling the kitschy, colorful theme.  Stay tuned…

WEG window

Inside we’re stocked with our favorite vintage ornaments, painted furniture and one-of-a-kind finds.  We also have a handful of new organic gift items.  Some that you’re going to want to keep for yourself or your mantel… the lemon cypress trees have already landed on mine!

Holiday 2015

Friday night marks the Congress Hall tree lighting.  We’re happy to be participating in Congress Hall’s Winter Wonderland for a second year in the shopping village.  Over there, we’re stocked with items from our pet boutique, Houndstooth, but you’ll find a few wreaths, ornaments and the like from Circa Dee.

Houndstooth Holiday 2015

Cape May is truly magical at the holidays.  In fact, it was just ranked #1 for Christmas towns in NJ!  Check out the list here.  We’re looking forward to seeing you this December!

check it out

This Sunday, I will be at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown decking the halls and hosting a Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint demonstration.  As always, the demo is free so come pick my brain.  Let’s discuss DIY holiday gift ideas made with milk paint!  This will be the last demonstration of the year held in Doylestown.  I look forward to seeing you there!MP demo

Also, congratulations are in order to Joan who won the CanvasPop 16×20 framed print giveaway!

framing memories

November always puts me into nesting mode.  It brings my attention back to my home after a busy summer & fall season in the shop.  This year is no different.  In fact, I got a head start about a week ago when I began moving furniture around late one night.  My living room has been bugging me for a while.  It has never felt finished or quite as inviting as I’d like.  There was one specific corner that was always dark and the massive brown sectional wasn’t helping to lighten it up.  I started by scooting my linen arm-chair into that corner and it instantly feels brighter!  I’ve also finally pulled the trigger on ordering the sofa I’ve been lusting over.  I can’t wait for it to arrive just in time for the holidays.

Linen Arm Chair Fall Living Room + CanvasPop Giveaway-7796

In the meantime, CanvasPop offered me a print to review and GIVEAWAY!  I’m over the moon with the quality of this product.  The 16 x 20 art print is framed with a 2.5 inch mat.  It has certainly helped to elevate this corner in our living room.  We had this photo taken a couple of years ago during our “Mess the Dress” session after our wedding.  We worked with wonderful photographers during that time in our life and, to be honest, we haven’t done much with the professional photos yet.  It can be so overwhelming.

CanvasPop Giveaway-7803

CanvasPop was exactly what I needed to get this memory professionally framed and matted.  They made the process so quick & easy!  My art print arrived neatly packaged in just 10 days.  I love the content of the photo too and how it plays into this evolving space.  Although this was a professional photo, CanvasPop can work with photos of any resolution and you can even import them from Facebook and Instagram.  How is that for convenient?

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Now it is your turn to win a CanvasPop 16 x 20 framed photo paper print with the 2.5″ white mat + free shipping. The winner will have until November 30, 2016 to order their free print. 

Click the CanvasPop banner below to enter and leave a comment here letting me know what you plan to frame if you win! Contest ends November 10, 2015 at 11:59PM PT. The winner will be contacted by email.

CanvasPop Giveaway

Ready to order now?  CanvasPop is offering a 35% discount to Circa Dee readers through the end of November.  Simply use the code CIRCADEE35 on your order at www.canvaspop.com

 

 

bar cart essentials

Fall is in full swing and, let’s be honest, that means the holidays are on the horizon.  Holiday entertaining and parties will be here before we know it.  Now is the time to get those bar carts stocked and ready to go!  Hollywood Regency Brass Faux Bamboo Bar Cart

The folks over at Chairish challenged me to select my favorite bar cart and subsequently style it.  They came to the right place because I am a big fan of vintage bar carts!  I have bought and sold a few over the years.  Chairish makes buying and selling vintage furniture, art, jewelry and accessories online very easy.  From their selection, I chose a Hollywood Regency number.  I love the simple bamboo lines and those brass casters…swoon!

10 Bar Cart Essentials-

The double tiered cart will come in handy because we’ve got a lot of necessities to fit in order to craft the perfect libation.  Here are my Top 10 Bar Cart Essentials

Tools

  • First, you need the tools of the trade!  A muddler, jigger and shaker are any mixologist’s best friends.  The mason shaker adds a rustic appeal that I love.
  • Bitters are a bar cart necessity these days.  Hair of the Dog is a crowd pleaser!

Recipe Books

  • We like to muddle fresh fruit and herbs for our refreshments, taking tips from The Drunken Botanist.
  • Another book always close at hand is Shake which does a wonderful job of illustrating the drink recipes it outlines.

Glassware

  • What bar would be complete without crystal?  These vintage, crystal wine glasses from Chairish are very similar to a set of family heirloom glasses we have at our home bar.  They are our go-to glasses. Crystal  elevates every cocktail.  We don’t just reserve it for special occasions.

Accessories

  • I always have fabric cocktail napkins on hand.  These ticking striped ones are adorable and perfect everyday napkins.
  • The striped straws are just plain fun and whimsical, as well as functional.  Form and function?  Win/Win!
  • The beautiful artisan-made peach basket is used to corral tools when not in use.  It can also double as an ice bucket in a pinch because it is ceramic.

The Valencia - cocktail recipe

In case you’re wondering, The Valencia cocktail is still one of my favorites using citrus medica bitters and fresh squeezed orange juice.  The recipe can be found in Shake.

All of the bar ware above can be found at Circa Dee and the vintage bar cart and crystal glasses can be found at Chairish.com.

 

photographing a hoosier

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to visit Miss Mustard Seed’s studio in PA.  It is an inspiring space, as I’m sure you can imagine, yet totally approachable and comfortable.  It is filled with Marian’s signature style and brand which seem to be just that.  Approachable and comfortable.

Miss Mustard Seed's Studio

Around every corner, another familiar milk paint color bats an eye at you.  Even when not staged, its beautiful.

Miss Mustard Seed's Studio

And this vintage, chippy counter!  Love that original color.

Miss Mustard Seed's Studio

The space was basically a blank canvas with fantastic light that Marian turned into a studio for painting, teaching and photography.  I was there for the latter, a photography boot camp class.

Miss Mustard Seed's Studio

Great pictures can elevate a brand.  This is an area I’ve been interested in developing further for some time now.  I knew I had hit a wall with my own technical knowledge of photography.  Well, questions were answered with a few aha moments!  I’m looking forward to upgrading my equipment starting with a new lens and lighting tools.  I’m not sure that I’ll ever be an all-star photographer but it is great to work at it and “get it” more from a technical standpoint.

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When I returned home, I was so excited to put a few of my new skills to work.  I just finished this Hoosier last week which I absolutely adore, especially in this space at my parent’s cottage.  However, it is for sale and will be moving to West End Garage very soon.  At any rate, this little vignette was the perfect candidate to photograph.

farmhouse hoosier mustard seed yellow-035

The Hoosier is painted Mustard Seed Yellow and finished with hemp oil and some antiquing wax.  The oak countertop was revived with hemp oil and is a real stunner!  The farmhouse sign is hand painted with milk paint too – grainsack for the lettering and a custom mix for the shadowing.

farmhouse hoosier mustard seed yellow-033

I can’t wait for my new lens to arrive so I can work on sharper images but for now I’m happy with how this wild bouquet of zinnias looks in the foreground.

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Do you have any photography tips to share?

summer travels

Our travels this summer have taken us to beautiful back country roads.  More often than not we’ve found ourselves without cell service which is welcomed.  The name of the game has been picking in uncharted territory.  The further from home, the better as far as I’m concerned.

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Typically there are more chickens than people.  Oh, there have been so many chickens. Caged, penned, free range.  You name it.  We need more chickens in our life. That’s for sure.

There have been creeks, peaks and rivers.  One gargling right by our back door at this cabin by the woods.  Glamping at its finest.

Barns and dilapidated out buildings too.

And one memorable barn-red, covered bridge.

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We’re getting ready for another adventure as we continue to check items off from our summer bucket list.  How is yours progressing?

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summer bucket list

It seems like we anticipate summer all year long living in Cape May.  All of the seasons are beautiful here in this quaint coastal town but summer takes the cake.  The town swells with visitors.  The locals are busy working their craft whether it be retail, hospitality or agriculture.  The energy in the southernmost point of New Jersey is amazing.  Yet there is still time for a sunset bike ride by the bay, an afternoon nap on the beach or an early morning walk in the garden.  The days are so long and full of possibility.

This year I don’t want to solely consume myself with work and miss out on what the season has to offer.  I may have been guilty of that last summer.  We put together a summer bucket list to keep ourselves motivated to enjoy all that life has to offer.  We may even spend a few days acting like tourists as we did prior to moving here on a full-time basis.

Here goes.

summer bucket list

With July rapidly approaching, I challenge you to make a summer bucket list too.  Keep track of your goals whether on a piece of paper, a chalkboard, email, whatever works for you.  Simply challenge yourself to fully enjoy the season without any regrets.

What’s on your summer bucket list?

While discussing bucket lists and goals, I should mention that I was interviewed in June’s issue of Cape May magazine. We talked lighting.  Of course, I was happy to discuss all of the upcycled lighting we’ve created and posted about over the years.

CM mag june

Earlier this year, I made a goals list and included “contribute to a regional magazine” amongst what I wished to accomplish in 2015.  And wouldn’t you know I did just that two months in a row!  I am convinced that there is really something to putting your goals in writing and therefore releasing them into the world.  It holds you responsible for accomplishing the tasks, even if only as simple as doing yoga on the beach just once this summer.

Cape May magazine

The spring edition of Cape May magazine is now available.  Aside from featuring everything we love about this town, the regional magazine also offers a regular decorating column called Interior Motives.  Earlier this season, I was asked to contribute to the current column’s theme of refreshing the bathroom.

Bathrooms?  I can talk bathrooms!

Bathroom task lights turned sconces-6339

I met with the editor and we discussed redecorating the bathroom for the upcoming season using new paint, fixtures and accessories.  Naturally I didn’t stray far from the themes of repurposing and styling with vintage.  The cottage bathroom that we completed last year in our home was mentioned in the article (as well as one we’re currently working on using that pretty brass fixture).

Bathroom task lights turned sconces-6344

Here’s how that cottage bathroom looks today with the addition of sconce lighting that we recently added over the sink.  For months I was on the hunt for just the right vanity light fixture.  Then, at the flea market, I came across a pair of gooseneck, task lamps.  Thinking outside of the box, it was clear to me that these lights could be the finishing touch that we needed in this bathroom.  Insert light bulb pun here.

Bathroom task lights turned sconces-6328

Ryan worked his magic dismantling and reconfiguring these task lights into sconces.  He took off the switches and exterior cord and hardwired them to work on the light switch.  We also sprayed them glossy heat-resistant white.

And voila, a custom vanity light for our bathroom.  I like how the lights have a gallery vibe to them as if they’re illuminating the heirloom mirror like a piece of fine art.  If you’re curious, you can see how we constructed the vanity out of a dresser here.

Bathroom task lights turned sconces-6332

The magazine article also references ways to use Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in the bathroom. We talked about using tough coat as a protective top coat to preserve wood surfaces around water and humidity such as the mirror.

Check out the magazine next time you’re in Cape May.  You can always purchase online too.